How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance - now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9:14-15
7th grade picture day had finally arrived. I picked out my outfit the night before and even showered, which like most teenage boys was a rare occurrence. I was ready to stun the ladies with my rugged handsomeness or at the very least my peach fuzz mustache. I got ready in my room then headed to the mirror to give myself one last look. As I stared at my reflection, I almost died. A gnarly pimple took up residency square dab on my forehead. That sucker was huge. It could've beat up the school bully all by itself.
My mom did her best to use some of her concealer to cover my blemish. Her trick only hid it a tad, and even so, I was sure that as I walked the hallways, everyone would notice the enormous crater that remained just under the surface. I eventually mustered up the courage to head to school and say "cheese!", but those photos haven't seen the light of day since.
Even as I grow older, displaying my imperfections is something I've never become comfortable with doing. I don't think I'm alone. We all are well aware of our shortcomings and flaws. When we look ourselves in the mirror, our imperfections stare back at us: a wandering eye, a judgmental spirit, an angry tone, an unforgiving heart.
We reason people can't see us like this because if they caught a glimpse of our imperfections that would be the end of us. Our lives would be over. People wouldn't love or accept the real us. So, we get down to the business of concealing our flaws.
We hide our blemishes. We cover up where we fall short. We try to make up for our mistakes by attempting to change our behavior. Yet, no matter how good we might be at masking our issues, as we walk around we know they remain just under the surface. So, instead of experiencing freedom, we spend our days living in the fear of being found out.
Scripture is the mirror that God uses to highlight the blemishes in our lives. Yes, it does allow us to see all our imperfections and the places where cleansing needs to take place. But, amid the vulnerability, it offers a hopeful message, one we don't get from the world. Christ loves us, warts and all. He sees us, our true selves, and thinks we’re beautiful. Most importantly, Christ lived an unblemished life free from sin to handle our flaws once and for all.
We don’t have to conceal. The masks and makeup no longer are needed. We can let others in because we know their opinions don't define us. We can keep our head up, smile and present ourselves to the world around us. We might not be picture perfect, but we worship a perfect God who loves us, pursues us and wants what's best for us.
Where does Christ need to speak into the imperfections you allow to define you and shape your perception?
God, rather than conceal, I will come to You. It is Your grace that allows me to be bold and vulnerable. You love me in spite of my mistakes, failures, and sin. You say I am worthy, even if I don't feel that way. Help me to see myself the way You see me - forgiven, loved, and valued. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.